by Tim Regan — September 30, 2015 at 11:30 am 130 0

2100 Connecticut Avenue NW, photo via Street ViewA planned sushi restaurant is one step closer to opening near Adams Morgan.

A public hearing notice for a new liquor license application appears to show that the restaurant, Sushi Ogawa, is planning to move in soon at 2100 Connecticut Avenue NW.

According to the application, the restaurant would serve “traditional Japanese sushi and washoku sushi in addition to fish and vegetables” with seating for 56 people.

PoPville noted that the forthcoming restaurant had installed a sign roughly one year ago.

The restaurant’s listed contact, Yumiko Stegner, was not immediately available to comment, but Sushi Ogawa appears to have a Twitter account advertising a fall opening.

Photo via Google Street View

by Tim Regan — September 21, 2015 at 1:30 pm 104 0

A new cafe is now open on U Street.

Amsterdam Cafe and Lounge opened for business last week in the former Indulj space at 1208 U Street NW.

Co-owner Belay Abere told Borderstan last week that he wants the eatery to be more low-key than the once-notorious Indulj was.

“We’re concentrating more on the cafe than the bar,” Abere said. “We hope people are looking forward to a nice coffee shop where they can bring their laptops, sit down and be comfortable.”

The cafe’s menu includes chicken wings, burgers and sandwiches — all $10 — and a long list of hot and cold drinks and smoothies. The bar will  also serve cocktails, beer and wine when it receives its liquor license, said Abere.

Additionally, Abere said he will turn the building’s second floor into a lounge area and open a rooftop deck when the bar receives its liquor license.

by Tim Regan — September 17, 2015 at 3:45 pm 191 0

1781 Florida Avenue NW

Adams Morgan may soon have a new Italian restaurant.

A public hearing notice for a liquor license application posted on the ABRA website shows that a new restaurant, Red, White and Basil, is slated to move in at 1781 Florida Ave. NW.

According to the application, the restaurant seeks to serve “freshly-made pasta as well as beer and wine” with indoor seating for 17 and outdoor seating for 20.

The public hearing notice does not specify which suite at 1781 Florida Ave. NW the new restaurant might move into, but the space that formerly held the Hans Pedr’ Kaffe is still vacant.

The restaurant’s listed contact, Christopher Lynch, was not immediately available to comment, but the forthcoming restaurant appears to have a website and a Facebook page with sparse details.

by Tim Regan — September 17, 2015 at 2:40 pm 0

A Dupont Circle jeweler is expanding into the space next door.

Tiny Jewel Box, located at 1147 Connecticut Ave. NW, is currently knocking down walls and building out the space next door. When the new combined location opens in November, it will span 8,000 square feet and include a grand rotunda, the company said.

Construction crews could be seen working on the next-door space this afternoon.

The new location will carry a variety of brand name watches, including timepieces from Cartier and Rolex. The location will also include a Rolex authorized repair center, a bridal salon, a collectibles shop, and a vintage heirloom boutique.

The company said it will continue to use the five floors above its ground-level retail space for office space, manufacturing, custom design and gifts.

by Tim Regan — September 15, 2015 at 3:00 pm 0

return of The Columbia Room

A photo posted by edit lab at streetsense (@edit_lab_) on

The owners behind defunct bar Columbia Room are now one step closer to reopening the popular drinking establishment.

public hearing notice for a new liquor license application shows that the former cocktail bar’s owners seek to set up shop in a space located in the “Gang of Three” building at 1224 9th St. NW.

The liquor license application calls for a total occupancy of 114 with summer garden seating for 40.

Drink Company CEO Angie Salame wrote about the the forthcoming opening in an e-mail exchange with Borderstan earlier today.

“Derek Brown, JP Fetherston and I are reopening the award winning Columbia Room in Blagden Alley,” said Salame. “We’re bringing back our precisely made cocktails paired with snacks and a focus on classics using local ingredients where possible,” she added.

“We are planning a few extra bells and whistles of course, but we are grounded in the same attention to detail and focus on service we became known for,” said Salame.

Though the bar currently has no opening date set, Salame said that they’re shooting to open early next year.

by Tim Regan — August 11, 2015 at 2:30 pm 457 0

7-Eleven on 14th Street NW

A controversial petition launched to protest the opening of a 14th Street NW 7-Eleven store was successful, says its creator.

The Change.org petition originally called for residents to rise up against a new 7-Eleven convenience store coming to the ground floor of the Solea condo building at 2300 14th Street NW.

Ezra Weinblatt, who lives in the condo and originally filed the petition, told Borderstan in July he was “not impressed by the processed and sugary foods that they sell,” and hoped “to get enough support behind the opposition to … demonstrate that the neighborhood would rather have a more local bodega, clothier or anything else.”

Though 300 people went on to sign Weinblatt’s petition, not all of the feedback it garnered was positive. CityLab’s Kriston Capps wrote in July that the petition smacked of “crypto-classism.”

And yesterday, PoPville declared that the petition had failed because it couldn’t prevent the embattled 7-Eleven from posting its permits on the window and moving forward with renovations.

While Weinblatt acknowledges that the petition failed to stop the new 7-Eleven, he says his petition was ultimately a success.

“It wasn’t a failure,” says Weinblatt. “We wanted to raise awareness that the community objected to another insipid corporate fast food type establishment.”

“Given that there are only 50 units in the building and over 300 people from every race and class in the neighborhood signed the petition, the effort was successful,” he says.

One thing Weinblatt says he didn’t anticipate is that his original petition would be so controversial.

“I had no idea I would have so many detractors,” Weinblatt says. “I thought this was a slam dunk. The petition was accused of being classist. It couldn’t be anything further from the truth.”

“There’s such an epidemic with obesity. It’s sad,” Weinblatt adds. “I don’t know exactly how people who think they’re defending the underdog when they’re supporting food and lifestyle choices that are actually oppressive to them.”

Now that the 7-Eleven has moved closer to opening, will Weinblatt boycott it?

“I’m not going to support it for the first 6 months,” Weinblatt says. “But I wouldn’t rule it out [later]. It’s not going to stay open because I buy a bottle of water once every six months.”

by Jared Holt — July 17, 2015 at 3:30 pm 227 0

Sauf Haus

A German beer hall near Dupont Circle will celebrate its one-year anniversary next weekend with giveaways, live music and cheap brews.

Sauf Haus Beir Hall (1216 18th St NW) will open its doors at 12 p.m. next Saturday to celebrate the occasion.

Five bands will perform and bartenders will pour Schofferhofer Grapefruit Radler and Radeberger Pilsner for $1 until the taps run dry. Customers will also be able to enter to win prizes.

The owners of Sauf Haus are donating a percentage of the day’s proceeds to The Yellow Ribbon Fund, which assists injured military service members.

Image via Facebook.com/SaufHausDC

by Jared Holt — July 16, 2015 at 10:00 am 399 0

NY Bagel Cafe

Construction will start soon for a new bagel shop on U Street.

New York Bagel Cafe & Deli announced via Twitter that it is going to build its first D.C. location on U Street NW.

The shop will serve bagels, coffee drinks, sandwiches,  soups and salads.

Photo via NY Bagel Cafe & Deli’s Facebook Page

by Tim Regan — July 9, 2015 at 1:30 pm 2,027 19 Comments

14th Street and Florida Avenue NW

(Updated at 1:49 p.m. Friday with correct photo) A group of residents has launched a petition to block the possible addition of a new 7-Eleven store at 2300 14th Street NW.

“We are happily satisfied with the neighborhood retail services today such as: Streets, Smucker Farms, Yes Organic, CVS and Trader Joe’s, yet we are very concerned about [7-Eleven] entering our neighborhood,” reads the Change.org petition.

“We believe that [7-Eleven] will diminish and detract from our neighborhood, nor do we see it adding any value to our lives,” it continues.

Ezra Weinblatt, who filed the petition last night, says he and other residents at the nearby Solea condo building caught wind of the possible 7-Eleven coming to 2300 14th Street NW earlier this week.

Jim Dennin, the real estate broker for the property at 2300 14th Street NW, said he “could neither confirm nor deny” a 7-Eleven was coming to the property.

“We’re hoping to get enough support behind the opposition to compel them and demonstrate that the neighborhood would rather have a more local bodega, clothier or anything else,” Weinblatt says.

Among Weinblatt’s main concerns are the type of products sold at 7-Eleven.

“We not impressed by the processed and sugary foods that they sell,” adds Weinblatt. “The community is already served. It doesn’t fill a niche. We’re all concerned about the image that it brings.”

But doesn’t CVS sell the same kind of sugary foods?

“Well, CVS is already here,” says Weinblatt. “Everything that 7-Eleven sells is already being sold by every other business here.”

Though he didn’t include it in his petition, Weinblatt says he’s also concerned about people congregating in front of the possible store late at night.

“People hanging out at four in the morning on a street corner are not looking to pick up trash. They’re looking for trouble. We don’t want trouble.”

Weinblatt’s next step is to take the petition to his local commissioners at ANC 1B.

“We’re totally happy to see the landlord make money,” says Weinblatt. “We just want to see the community’s interests taken into that as well.”

Photo via Google Street View

by Daniel Levitt — July 6, 2015 at 5:00 pm 423 0

West End Cinema Landmark Theaters

Landmark Theatres will reopen West End Cinema (2301 M St NW) later this month, according to a sign recently posted on the theater’s window.

New employees are currently being hired to prepare for a soft opening on July 17, an employee working at the former West End Cinema location said today.

A Craigslist ad seeking part-time staffers was posted last week.

West End Cinema closed last March amid “significant increases” to occupancy costs, reported the Washington Post.

Landmark Theatres is a national theater chain that owns the E Street Cinema downtown and the Bethesda Row Cinema in Bethesda.

In addition to West End, the theater chain also plans to open a new theater in the Atlantic Plumbing Project development on V Street NW on October 9, as reported by the Washington Business Journal in November.

by Jared Holt — July 6, 2015 at 4:00 pm 501 1 Comment

Joel Pollack Big Planet Comics

Big Planet Comics founder Joel Pollack loves to be compared to Jeff Albertson, the comic book guy from the Simpsons.

“Oh, you mean my idol,” he says with a laugh.

But in many ways, Pollack, who opened the first Big Planet Comics location in Bethesda 29 years ago, has surpassed his role model.

Since founding the company’s first shop, the 65-year-old comic seller has grown the company to include its own in-house publishing company and four locations — one of which resides in the upstairs space at 1520 U Street NW.

That store, along with its sister locations in Bethesda, Vienna and College Park, celebrated the company’s 29th birthday last weekend with a big sale.

Over the years, Pollack says his clientele has changed.

Though comic collecting was once thought of as the chosen hobby of basement dwellers, its appeal has grown to include businesspeople, educators and families.

“I’ve had many parents come in and thank me for getting their kids interested in reading again,” says Pollack.

When will Pollack stop selling comics? That’s debatable. But he adds the shop is doing so well that it might just outlive him.

“I still have people shopping with me from day one,” says Pollack. “I wish I was as healthy as the business.”

Image via Big Planet Comics’ Facebook Page

by Tim Regan — July 2, 2015 at 3:35 pm 2,228 0

Guggenmos at ANC 2F

Number Nine and Town Danceboutique co-owner John Guggenmos seeks to open a “comfortable” new tavern on 14th Street NW.

Guggenmos said last night during a monthly ANC 2F meeting that the new business would be located at 1410 14th Street NW in the space under Black Whiskey.

That storefront is currently occupied by Jrink juicery, which will move to Shaw in August.

If all goes according to plan, the new tavern — still unnamed — will have a small dance floor, live DJs and feature architectural design elements made from salvaged materials.

“One of the things we’ll be looking to do here is use materials that give them all a second life,” said Guggenmos during his presentation to ANC 2F’s commissioners.

For instance, Guggenmos said he would like to build an outdoor seating area’s fence out of wood found in the wreckage of a barn destroyed by a tornado.

“You take down this wonderful old barn wood and give it a second life,” he said. “These big, thick old planks; you couldn’t buy something new that has that character.”

Guggenmos hopes the salvaged materials will lend the tavern a comfortable feel.

“I was criticized with Number Nine for making it too nice,” said Guggenmos. “People didn’t feel like they could put their feet up.”

by Tim Regan — July 2, 2015 at 1:55 pm 224 0

“FIREWORKS TNT FIREWORKS,” reads the sign above Mi Casita Bakery, a Mexican and Salvadoran cafe on 14th Street NW in Columbia Heights.

Inside, the eatery is busy and hot.

“No, we don’t sell fireworks here,” sighs the man behind the counter. “We do not sell fireworks.”

The man sighs again, as if to say he gets that question a lot.

“But Mattie does,” the man says, pointing to the wall behind him. “She’s out back.”

Mattie McLain’s head barely emerges from behind the counter of her plywood fireworks stand. On first glance, the hut looks uninhabited.

Although hidden, McLain is there. Sun or storm, the 78-year-old has manned the firework shack each summer for more than 20 years.

Every afternoon, a small crowd of children gathers in front of the stand. With a smile, McLain doles out pop-its, sparklers and party poppers for a dollar apiece.

Earlier this week, the stand was discovered — and subsequently written about — by PoPville.

“Seems legit,” wrote one commenter sarcastically.

“The [person] who runs the fireworks stand has had [their] stand on that corner for 30+ years,” writes another. “The nice folks at [Mi] Casita don’t have to let [them] continue the tradition, but they do.”

But McLain doesn’t just own the fireworks stand. She also owns the building that houses Mi Casita.

“I’ve owned the building 40 years,” she says.

McLain used to run a grocery store and deli out of the space, but she closed the deli 10 years ago.

“I just got too old,” McLain says. “Now, I sell fireworks. It keeps me busy.”

Over the years, McLain has gotten to know her neighbors well.

“The neighborhood has changed a lot,” says McLain. “But a lot of the same people are still here. I know them.”

“Each year around this time, they look for me,” McLain says with a laugh. “Everybody says, ‘Where’s Mattie?'”

McLain often says she doesn’t know how much longer she’ll sell fireworks. But she’ll run the stand as long as she can.

“I’m old,” McLain says. “Too old. I fell this morning.”

“But I can get up,” she adds.

by Tim Regan — July 1, 2015 at 4:05 pm 1 Comment

Gallery Neptune and Brown

A new art gallery will open in the space formerly occupied by Gallery Plan B on July 18.

Two Georgetown galleries, Neptune Fine Art and Robert Brown Gallery announced today the opening of a joint “satellite space” called Gallery Neptune and Brown.

The new gallery will be located in the old Gallery Plan B space, across the street from the Studio Theatre at 1530 14th Street NW.

Former Gallery Plan B Director David Kalamar will be hired on to help manage the new location, confirmed Robert Brown of Robert Brown Gallery.

Nepture Fine Art owner Christine Neptune and Robert Brown will co-own the space.

Gallery Plan B owner Paula Amt announced the closure of her beloved 14th Street art space last Monday.

“We decided after the 10 year anniversary that it was time,” Amt told Borderstan. “Go out on a high note with good memories and accomplishments.”

Amt will not return to help with the new gallery.

The gallery’s first exhibit, “Summer Splash on 14th Street,” will run from July 18 until September 5 and feature artists Polly Apfelbaum, Donald Baechler, Ellsworth Kelly and Philip Taaffe.

Neptune Fine Art was founded in New York City in 2000, an focuses mainly on modern and contemporary art.

Robert Brown Gallery first opened in Georgetown in 1981. Over the years, Brown has exhibited artists such as Roger Ballen, Oleg Kudryashov, Sol Lewitt and David Nash.

Photo courtesy Gallery Neptune and Brown

by Tim Regan — July 1, 2015 at 10:10 am 1,214 1 Comment

Books-A-Million, Photo via https://www.facebook.com/pages/Books-A-Millon/

Books-A-Million near Dupont Circle will close on July 18, said assistant store manager Karen Sickles.

Sickles confirmed by phone this morning that the store lost its lease, but couldn’t say anything more about the situation.

“We’ve been here a long time,” Sickles says. “We’re sad to go.”

Sickles added the store, located at 11 Dupont Circle NW, is selling all of its remaining inventory at a 20 to 50 percent discount.

“This is our bye-to-D.C. sale,” she says.

Photo via Facebook/pages/Books-A-Millon


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